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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  May 20, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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> storm clouds over washington, both literal and figurative. it is monday, may 20th, and this is "now." republicans are channeling a version of rahm emanual and not letting a good controversy go to waste. after thus far failing to find a direct connection between president obama and the irs, in the agency's targeting of conservative groups, some republicans have started pulling on loose threads in the hopes of unwinding the administration. "the new york times" reports that the white house chief counsel learned about the investigation into the irs last month. weeks before president obama said he found out about it from the media. this morning, republican senator roy blount used the information to summon his best version of television indignation. >> last month when the white
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house counsel find out about this, she decided i'm not going to tell the chief of staff? come on. that may have happened, if that happened, she should be out of that job by the end of this week, i would think. >> meanwhile, other top republicans refused to let go of the conspiracy theories. anywhere minding reality and the actual factual evidence at hand. on "meet the press," senate minority leader, mitch mcconnell suggested that the irs was acting at the direction of the president. >> there is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration, the irs is just the most recent example. >> the problem with baseless theorizing on a national news program is that oftentimes a question-and-answer session will reveal that it is baseless theorizing. >> do you have any evidence that the president of the united states directed what you call a culture of intimidation at the irs to target political opponents? >> i don't think we know what the facts are. >> but that hasn't stopped you from accusing?
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>> well we're talking about here an attitude that the government knows best. the nanny state is here, to tell us all what to do. and if we start criticizing, you get tafrgted. >> and then there are those in the gop who have embraced a unique, hybrid strategy of baseless theorizing and fear-mongering, tea party firebrand rand paul cited the existence of a mysterious policy document that specifically called on the irs to go after white house foes. >> apparently there is a policy and i think we're going to find that there's a written policy, that says that we were targeting people who were opposed to the president. >> once again, the problem with baseless theorizing and fear-mongering on a national news program is that oftentimes, a question-and-answer session will reveal that it is baseless theorizing and fear-mongering. >> are you telling me you think there's a memo somewhere in which someone said in the memo, we're targeting people who are going after the president? is that what i heard you say? >> well, we keep hearing the
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reports and we have several specifically worded items say who is being targeted. in fact one of the bullet points says, those who are critical of the president. so i don't know if that comes from a policy, but that's what's being reported in the press and reported orally. i haven't seen a policy statement. but i think we need to see that. >> reported orally. so far, the american people do not seem to be all that interested. white house senior adviser dan fiver had words for the crack crackerjack scandal squad. >> we've seen this play from the playbook before. they want to drag washington into a swamp of partisan bickering. we're not going to let that happen. the president has business to do for the american people. >> a new poll taken friday and saturday shows not only has the past week not hurt the president's approval rating, his numbers are equal or higher than they were in april. should scandal-watchers feel berest of something legitimate to sink their teeth in, this
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morning brings news of the department of justice's phone record seizures. joining me today, washington bureau chief of the the "huffington post," ryan grimm, npr white house correspondent, ary shapiro. national political reporter at the "washington post," nia malika henderson and former white house press secretary and msnbc contributor, a man who is probably psyched to not be at the mode yum these days, robert gibbs. >> that's the chyron now? >> totally psyched to not have to go to the briefing. >> when i was in the briefing room and somebody asked me a hard question as david gregory did to mitch mcconnell or as candy did to rand paul, that my eyes didn't get big like his did. >> do you have any proof and they were like -- no, but you always started with -- >> facts? >> let's be clear. >> let's be clear. >> give the air of validity. but going like this? when asked to follow-up?
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a sure sign of nothing being there. let's start, before we get to the a.p. stuff, which i'm sure many people, specifically ary will have lots to say on. i want it talk about this weekend and the indignation and the outrage that seems to be felt by republicans that they can't quite find the thing that's going to bring down the obama administration. >> if you think about what are we talking about today. we're talking about "the new york times" says kathy rummeler, who let's be clear -- >> white house counsel. >> as mart as any person who works in the white house, she's fabulous. "the new york times" is reporting that kathy knew last week or knew in april. which is exactly what jay carney told the white house press corps last week. to say that there's nothing, not anything there there would be sort of an understatement. but what would roy blunt be saying today if the report was -- kathy told the president in april, and then this report came out or was made public in mid may. roy blunt, mitch mcconnell, rand paul would all be on tv saying what did the white house do when
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they found out the inspector general was investigating the irs? what phone records do they have? who did they try to intimidate? i mean, if we can take what we know happened, and make up a series and a fact pattern that doesn't fit any proof that they have to offer into the record, imagine what the flip side would be if kathy walked into the oval office and said -- sir, the inspector general is doing this, blah blah blah. we would have a whole other set of ask skbirscy theories. it's like a whole other trunk of conspiracy theories. if this happens, do this, pull out this and do that. if it happens to be this, use these. >> or if you're rand paul, give america insight into those things that are reported orally. what does that even mean? i do want to focus, though, on the -- there's been so much talk about this irs scandal. controversy, whatever you want to call it. and then there's reporting from the "l.a. times" and "the new york times" this weekend, talking about exactly what happened in cincinnati, ryan. and it is fairly mundane.
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it sounds like really overwhelmed civil servants, highlights, in 2010 according to npr, this applications for 501(c)4 tax status came into the office, that number nearly doubles by 2012. according to the irs inspector general's report one person was given the task of sifting through the applications deemed politically sensitive. it sounds like a mess. >> sure, and it shows why tra e transparency is jgenerally a god thing for the executive branch. as soon as they exposed the emails around benghazi, they said oh, never mind then, it's a bunch of people squabbling over talking points. everybody wants to have their input. add a comma here, everybody needs to feel important. going back and forth on a weekend. same thing with cincinnati. oh, this is what was happening. a bunch of bureaucrats, you know, messing up and overworked and so just put it out there.
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and then, you know -- >> let the people see how mundane it is. >> i think both ryan's point and robert's point speak to the crucial question as to whether a scandal has legs or not. whether it is a true scandal or not. which is what is the white house involvement. i mean i think back to the second bush term, when a bunch of u.s. attorneys were fired all at once, it was a huge justice department controversy what made it a real scandal, what made it really damage the white house was that there was white house involvement. and so that's going to be the focus on all three of these. the a.p. phone records, the benghazi, the irs scandal. that's what everybody is digging for, that's what the white house is defending itself against. >> nia, not all scandals are created equal, right? the a.p. stuff i think has legs in the press because the press is directly affected. the press is directly affected by it and -- >> why do you look at me when you say that. >> i am a member of the press, theoretically and there's a sense of indignation. the irs thing seems distinctly
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more partisan, as does benghazi and that is something i think the republicans are going to try to keep alive until 2014 because they think they could run on it. >> that's right. they have this grab bag and they're gorging themselves on all of these things. they can't figure out, a, is obama overly involved, or not involved enough. they can't figure out what argument they're going to make, is it incompetence, is it government overreach. so you have them out there. really advancing all of these theories about this president. i think the problem is, that the republicans have been doing this for a number of years. they sort of shot themselves in the foot early on. because they were playing footsie with the birthers. now they have a legitimate criticism against this administration, it isn't so easy for them to have the credibility to make these arguments. >> robert, i will read a quote from john favro, former speech writer to the president. >> i've met him. >> you're familiar with him.
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>> the guru behind fenway strategies who writes in the "daily beast," the hand-wringers and bed-wetters in the d.c. pundit should know that barack obama will never be object their timeline, he does not value being first over being right. he will not spend his presidency chasing news cycles. he will not shake up his white house staff just because of some offhand advice offered to politico. >> the disdain actually is dripping off of the card that i read. >> i can imagine the cath ars is that went with finally expelling that paragraph from your brain on to a laptop. >> i think in the end, all of these scandals are so-called scandals will matter only if the problem doesn't get solved in three or six months, okay? benghazi is a horrible tragedy
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where four americans lost their lives. its staying power will be whether or not in six months, our embassies and our diplomats have the security they need. in the irs, can you file an application for a 501(c)4 from whatever political bent and have it evaluated on the law not on politics? that in the end, look it reminds me a lot of the oil spill, right? ary sat through some of the those mundane briefings on the oil spill. >> i did, too, but you never called me on that. >> you bring that up a lot. >> continue on, robert. >> there was, there's always heated light about what happens initially. but in the end, does the problem get solved? does the oil stop leaking? and you know, i like back at something like the oil spill that i spent literally every day, probably four to five hours a day for three months doing. and had it been solved poorly, it would have been a topic in
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the last presidential election. it wasn't brought up in the last presidential election, because despite some bumps at the very beginning, it got solved. and that's in the end, how the american people outside of the beltway are going to judge whether these are scandals or whether these just happen to be topics in the news on a certain day. >> do you think having been inside the white house in some critical moments that that is the posture inside the oval office? this is not, this is not an administration that chases the news cycle. there is a huge amount of disdain for the, this scandal-mongering. but at the same time, should the president be more responsive? you could probably argue that it has seemed like the white house has in some ways chased the news cycle in the last week. in so far they're issuing statements about embassy security and clearly trying to do some kind of triage. >> and put dan fifer out on the sunday shows. >> and jay carney. >> i do think look, at some point you, you self-correct a little bit. and you put out a bunch of stuff
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in order to get ahead of it. but i have no doubt in my mind that they're sitting in the white house, as i sat through the very same meetings, with somebody saying what i said. which is the test of this will be whether or not this problem is solved in three or six months. not on what happened on the first day. >> i think there's something more dangerous for the white house in all three of these controversies which is the president obama has been on a long-term project to get the american people to have confidence in their government, to trust that their government is competent. is acting in their best interests. and the narrative of all three of these controversies, serves to undermine that. which independent of any one of them really is is a blow to what president obama has been trying to do. >> i think that's right it goes to obama's brand. he was supposed to be the anti-clinton, not mired in scandals. he was supposed to be the anti-bush on not engaging in government overreach. and this goes to the brand. and i think for 2014, that's got to be the fear. that republicans have a pretty neat narrative to run against
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the democratic brand. if not obama himself. >> i think this is, let's just separate it also from the one administration versus another. this is about droemocracy and participatory democracy. citizen satisfaction, that doesn't make the challenge any less daunting, we should consider whether democracy itself is in danger of being discredited. politicians might usefully disentangle themselves from their power struggles long enough to take serious their responsibility to a noble idea and the systems that undergird it. >> the biggest threat to our democracy in the last century has been the fbi under hoover. it was just atrocious. >> wait, wait, whoa. going in a different direction with this, ryan. the doj scandal is the real scandal here. and this fits in with what the doj has been doing for the last several years. you know, you saw how they're going after these three peace activists and charging them as terrorists, the ones that broke into the nuclear facility. they hounded aaron schwartz,
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internet activist to death. they're chasing medical marijuana all over the country. and so when this comes out that they, that they subpoenaed hundreds of you know, reporters' phone records, it just fits in with the idea that there's this creep within the department of justice that ought to be checked. >> i mean i guess i would even take it outside of the three scandals that we're talking about. it's more like you are outside washington, they can't get any legislation passed. and now there's just this mess. there's this fight, there's this turf war between agencies, there's continued fighting between republicans and democrats. there's a sense that the entire system is broken, it's corrupt and i mean why be involved? why vote any more? why run for office? in that way, i'm not saying that this is sort of the final straw, but i feel like this is this trend that is very disturbing in terms of where we go as a country and the next generation. >> right, fifer says the republicans are trying to distract from the obama agenda. what agenda? what are they going to do over the next three and a half years. >> that's a good way to tee up the next block.
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we'll talk about something they may be doing in washington. we are, i don't know, is there breaking news? there was something about some breaking news. we're going to break, though, on while most of washington wallows in controversy, some lawmakers are actually working on something. ryan grimm, in fact, the so-called scandals may actually help get this job done. we'll discuss the state of bipartisan immigration reform, when nbc's luke russert joins us next on "now." ♪ [ female announcer ] from more efficient payments. ♪ to more efficient pick-ups. ♪ wireless is limitless. let's say you pay your guy around 2% to manage your money. that's not much you think. except it's 2% every year.
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as washington is deluged with talk of scandal and not
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scandal, something rare has been happening on capitol hill. actual progress on legislation. for the past two weeks, in the name of regular order, the senate judiciary committee has been debating the immigration bill and doing so with a great deal of civility. a sign that immigration reform just might be possible. "the new york times" editorial board says congress is moving in the right direction. writing quote, the absence of drama was a sign of how far the reform effort has moved beyond demagoguey, every day of movement in the committee process is rebuke to the politics of defiant stalemate. the hearings continue this morning and the committee is hoping to seal the deal by the end of the week. preparing legislation for a vote on the senate floor in june. but obstacles still remain as the committee takes up amendments on high-tech visas, gay rights and the bill's path to citizenship. surprising no one, the biggest hurdle will be the gop-controlled house. last week, house members struck a preliminary deal on their version of an immigration bill,
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and will introduce that version on june 4th. but speaker boehner has yet to say how he will proceed with immigration legislation from the senate. putting a rather large question mark on the fate of the bill in the lower chamber. despite this and amid scandal week in washington, in certain corners, optimism remains. last week, senator john mccain told reporters when iran contra was going on, president reagan was still able to work with congress. legislation was passed, everyone thought that it would damage president reagan, but it didn't. comparisons to iran contra may be someone overblown, but the silver lining on the overhanging clouds of controversy may end up being passage of comprehensive immigration reform. joining us with the man with the hand on the beating pulse of congress, nbc's luke russert. luke, thanks for joining me. >> thank you for having me. you're right upstairs, you're right downstairs, like "the brady bunch." >> television magic. >> we'll pretend you're on capitol hill right now, and i'll ask you -- >> i'm in washington, it's all
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the same. >> it is all the same. >> frank sherry, the director of america's voice, an reform advocate on the immigration side said we hope there's a fourth scandal, while all of this goes on, we're just plugging along under this radar. i think that was great news for those of us who are questioning last week whether scandalgate or lack of scandalgate thereof would threaten big legislative priorities. it sounds like that's not the case at all. >> two things on that alex. number one from conversations with gop leadership aides, they think what happened with the irs and benghazi anz the a.p. is sort of taken off some of the public pressure that was on immigration reform. before those three things, the talk radio shows and the blogs on the conservative side just took immigration reform to the woodshed every single day, were trying to beat it to death. the other thing is it's now given the folks who may have been on the fence, but who were never going to go along with immigration reform anyway it gives them an earlier chance to
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speak out against it, so that the leadership knows these guys are not going to move in any capacity and it gives them an excuse. which sort of sounds like that would help the overall bill it means there's less people sort of in that gray area. so now they know how many votes they have to get and where they're going to move forward on. that being said, best-case scenario this timeframe for this to come through the house, it still has to obviously come out of the senate. it's going to be probably in the early fall. and one aide told me specifically look, this thing is going to fall apart and break apart and come back together three to four times before we see it actually, when it finally gets out of the house. and for it to finally get out of the house, alex, it will have to go through some semblance of regular order. now he there's a lot of house committees that want top to have their hand in it we'll have do see what the house group comes up with on june 4th. and john boehner,s could he want to put himself front and center on a very tough vote that will not have most likely the majority of the majority violate the hastert rule and bring along some democrats. and democrats are not completely
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sold on this, either. the congressional black caucus had some questions about the diversity visas, by something that was out of the senate bill in terms of giving folks from african nations the chance to come over here. so there's a ton of questions on the house side. but at the end of the day, the scandals assisting this rather than hurting it. >> a lot of if's, and's or but's there, luke. i want to open this up to our panel. young luke brings up the important question, nia of what speaker boehner will do? will he throw the hastert rule out, as he has multiple times already and do what is actually the right thing? or is he going to let the raucous caucus going to get their paw prints all over this. there is some concern, if the house is going to be the determinant of the immigration bill, boehner is going to have to take a lead role to make sure anything substantive is in that bill. >> he has and you've heard him over the last couple of days say he's excitesed about the benghazi scandal and want waned to put a lot of attention to that. one of the things we've seen,
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obviously we've seen that he's broken the hastert rule. you saw with the violence against women act. one of the things they did there is they had two versions of the bill in the house. they voted on the senate bill, that passed. there was a tougher house bill that people also got to vote on, too. who knows if something like that will be able to happen. it's sort of a you know, sort of a win-win for people. and he's, he would break the hastert rule in that way. but i do think we haven't yet seen the fight from the far right on this. we saw some of it so far. >> you think it's the calm before the storm? >> i think it's the calm before the storm. the i think the scandals give those moderate republicans who are for immigration reform some -- >> here's a way to blow off steam by calling for impeachment of the president over benghazi and now call for immigration reform. >> i had a of conversation with a senate republican recently where i said will speaker boehner --
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>> he said speaker boehner has lost his virginity on the hastert rule so many times already. >> there isn't a hastert rule, there's a boehner rule. and the boehner rule is, will this vote make eric cantor the speaker. and the answer is no, you can go forward with it. that's the rule that he follows. >> and luke, that sort of rule is, is determined in some part by what happens in the senate, right? if this thing passes the senate with 70 votes, boehner doesn't have a choice and/or it's cover for boehner to go forward. what do we think of the threshold there? in terms of it has to be 70 or bust? >> yeah, the number is very important. obviously 70 helps, 75 is an absolute slam dunk. if you get into the lower 60s, it becomes a problem. one thing the leadership aides on the house side are excited about in the republican party is the fact that the senate bill moving forward is sort of exposes all their vulnerabilities of this bill. and basically allows them to try and bring it to the right in a way which they can go back to democrats and say look, you saw what happened in the senate.
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which is more of a centrist body in regards to us, we have to have these things before moving forward so they're obviously going to get some sort of concessions after they see the pathway forward. but if you get marco rubio on this alex and 75 votes, there's no way that john boehner can't put this on the floor. >> if this does pass, how it plays out. the afrlt p. writes today, legislatively one of obama's biggest second-term goals is to overhaul immigration laws, many republicans would like to deny him such an enhancing prize. can they, can they, can they pass this, and say this isn't president obama's victory, too? >> no, they can't and they realize the biggest rule in all this is there's an extensionial crisis for the republican party. they will be resigned to losing national elections without immigration reform and at least getting it behind them. they will be a regional congressional party. john boehner will get to preside
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over a caucus dominated primarily by southern republicans. and they'll never win the white house. or they won't win the white house for several elections because again, it's an ex-stensial crisis. >> they get a chance to augment the bill if they can convince a majority of their colleagues to enter an amendment or what have you. i think that could be a process by which it gives the right some ability to blow off some steam without killing the bill. but look, exhibit a in this is somebody like lindsay graham. you know, i don't doubt that lindsay graham is upset by benghazi. i think lindsay graham clears his schedule to be on fox to talk about benghazi, because when he can't clear his schedule, he's in the judiciary committee doing immigration reform. there's nothing, a challenge from the right in south carolina would be a pretty tough thing for lindsay graham to overcome.
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and i'm sure luke would see this, too. the members in the house are not worried about a democrat taking their seat from the republican side. thatter worried about a primary challenge from the right. how can they howl at the moon enough to be able to pass immigration reform on the other side. >> howling at the moon. luke, quickly, to robert's point. in the middle of all this scandal in the middle of benghazi and so on and so forth, john mccain was at white house last week, meeting with the president to talk about immigration reform. do we have any read-out or sense of how that meeting went? >> well from conversations from i had on capitol hill aides, it was evidently positive that senator mccain has politico has said today, has sort of become the best friend of barack obama in the past week. one thing i want to add in terms of what helps republicans in this fact, i spoke to a top aide in the senate that said look we need a democratic president to be there when we do immigration reform. and when we ultimately do entitlement reform. we don't want our fingerprints on this for any of our national
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candidates. or everyone in the oval office again. because it would really hurt us. so they want to do this for a democratic president. that's one thing above all else that could make this more of a legacy thing and move it more quickly, alex. >> nbc's luke russert, live from capitol hill, aka the fourth floor of this building. thanks for your time. coming up, president obama is set to become the first u.s. president to host a leader from burma at the white house from nearly 50 years, he may just not mention the name "burma." we'll get into the name game and president than sane's visit just ahead.
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to give your business a new edge, the edge you can only get in new york state. to grow our start your business, visit thenewny.com what is in a name? a lot when it comes to burma. today, president obama welcomes president thein sein to the white house. the first visit by a burmese leader since 1966. it marks the first step in the administration's normalization of relations with a country that's been known for its widespread human rights abuses. president sein changed the name of the country to myanmar in 1989. the official policy of the u.s. government has been to call the southeast asian nation burma. the name preferred by the country's pro democracy activists and its government in exile. on the first overseas trip of his second term, president obama
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notably used the military government's designation as a concession to president thein sein. >> we think that a process of democratic reform and economic reform here in myanmar, that has been begun by the president, is one that can lead to incredible development opportunities here. >> as the "washington post" noted at the time, the back and forth over whether to call burma myanmar is a carrot versus stick approach. one that the government has used with its dealings since 2011 while continuing to target minority ethnic populations. it might seem like a small issue but it gets to one of the most difficult questions in u.s. diplomacy with nasty regimes, how much legitimacy to bestow on a government ha has done terrible things, but it demonstrating a willingness and ability to improve?
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on his trip last year, president obama used both country names in a speech to students at the university of ran goon. but he was careful to refer only to burma during his meeting with democratic opposition leader, aung san suu kyi. >> today marks the next step in a new chapter between the united states and burma. >> ahead of elections in 2015, last month burma opened up its presses, allowing private daily newspapers to begin publishing for the first time since 196 4. president thein sein is also modernizing the country's infrastructure. in a country where only 1% of residents have internet access and just 6% own a mobile phone. burma's recent reforms have led to the u.s. and eu to drop most economic sanctions against the country. sparking broad interest from international businesses. and while today's meeting will seek to boost trade between the two countries, president obama must walk a fine line this afternoon, embracing the country's recent democratic reforms, while acknowledging burma's violent past and its
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present. the diplomatic back and forth over something as simple as a name is a sure sign that progress, while steady, still has much farther to go.
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there's just something about virginia republicans. the gop's current nominee for lieutenant governor has a history that includes claims that african-americans have a slavish devotion to democrats. that there's a direct connection between being gay and being a pedophile, and that planned parenthood is more lethal and that the kkk. and then there's outgoing attorney general, ken cuchinelli, who has never been one to shy away from opinions about reproductive rights and that's earned him special attention from planned parenthood. >> that ken cuchinelli, he's running for governor and he keeps showing up where he doesn't belong. he's trying to put himself in the middle of our most personal decisions. he sponsored legislation to end funding for planned parenthood and ken cuchinelli wants to make
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abortion illegal. even in cases of rape, incest or when the woman's health is in danger. to keep ken out of your doctor's office, keep him out of the governor's mansion. >> we will talk culture wars in the old dominion, coming up next. what do you think? that's great. it won't take long, will it? nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? summer's here, so are the savings. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get memorial day savings, like 3 bags of earthgro® mulch for just $10. ♪ even superheroes need superheroes, and some superheroes need complete and balanced meals
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just when you think that planned parenthood analogies to to hitler's killing machine and death squad might be winding down, a fresh face emerges with one more, meet e.w. jackson, the republican nominee for lieutenant governor of virginia, a minister and attorney from chesapeake and the newest face of the movement against women's health. last month he compared planned
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parenthood to the klu klux klan. >> the democrat party has created an unholy alliance between so-called civil rights leaders and planned parenthood which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. planned parenthood has been far more lethal to black movement than the kkk was. >> nia, e.w. jackson is going there. but i think what is worth note something that this line of the democrats and planned parenthood and those in favor of women's choice are trying to decimate the african-american population. i mean this has been used historically -- to sort of gin up support against choice among african-americans. >> and you had billboards in certain communities in atlanta, i think althea king, with the king family is a big sort of peddler of this idea that this is meant genocide for the black community. i think he reminds us that the
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republican party, the tea party specifically very desperate for their version of obama. it doesn't matter if he makes pizzas, it doesn't mat fehr he's a neurosurgeon. >> their version of obama, you mean a person of color. >> who believes in things. >>. >> who believes in their things. i think you had polls show that terry mcauliffe seemed to have a problem attracting black voters, i think he was at 60%, he needs 90, 95%. this will do it. this guy. his language about slavery and the plantation and black people and their attention to the democratic party, i think this going to really drive black folks to the polls. >> and i think that using the term, enslavement and we're calling the days of slavery, in the context of the american political system is such a slap in the face to the legacy of slavery and the pain of slavery and what the african-american community went through. >> it's sort of not necessarily. i think at this campaign, the biggest line, that got the most applause at this convention was when he said, i'm not an
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african-american, i'm an american. >> you can't imagine if somebody said, i'm not an italian american, i'm an american, it would have the same sort of resonance. he's playing into these stereotypes and ideas about african-americans and black folks to this audience. he's not talking to black people, he's talking to white people about black people. which i don't think will set very well with african-americans. >> ryan, what's going on in virginia? it's just next door to other states, it seems like it's on marches, given the fact that ken cuchinelli is running for governor and you have e.w. jackson as lieutenant governor. and these guys could win, that's what's amazing about this. this is not an example of sensationalizing some far right lunatic just for the purposes of rilg people up. which we do a little bit of that, you know. at the "huffington post." but this guy -- >> continue on, my friend. >> this guy could actually win. he could be the lieutenant governor, cuchinelli could win.
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tom periello decided no the to win so terry mcauliffe is the democratic opponent. when people are forced to decide between somebody they dislike politically and somebody they dislike personally, oftentimes you know, they'll go with the person they don't like politically. >> ary eye, i think we saw the murdochs and the aikens of last season. and it's in the event that mcauliffe, sorry, that cuchinelli and jackson find a place in virginia politics, what does that, what are the implications for the republican party? someone who said gays and lesbians are very sick people and homosexuality poisons culture. president obama has muslim sensibilities, how does that help republicans in the larger battle ahead? >> we're talking about a state that president obama carried twice and we have seen scenarios where the tea party has rocketsed republicans to victory and we've seen scenarios as you pointed out in indiana, in missouri, the cycle before that in delaware and nevada where tea
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party nominees cost republicans a state that they should win. the fact is, voters in off-year elections tend to be whiter, they tend to be older. they tend to be wealthier, it makes it an easier win for republicans, even in a state like virginia, a state that president obama carried twice. >> state polling has cuchinelli at 38% and mcauliffe is at 43. we should say, the caveat is that cuchinelli has not compared planned parenthood to the kk but he has his own litany of insane remarks. there are republicans who cannot be happy with this guy being the face of their party in an important governorship. >> this is the guy who is going to make ken cuchinelli look like not the most dangerous republican, right? which is a, saying something. b, it's the peril of pick your nominees at a convention, right. it is not just the activists, it is a subset of the subset of activists, right? it's very dangerous, i think to
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pick your nominees with such a small group of people picking them. look, this is largely insane. >> i like it. there's a long tee-up and then the deliverable, it is insane. >> it is insane. it's going to be an interesting thing to watch. remember these guys are not elected as a group, okay. they're elected individually. but i think ken cuchinelli is going to spend a lot of time speaking about the fact that this guy's not on my ticket. he's got a separate nomination. but look, this is, this is a swing state. and it's become a swing state very, very quickly. it was the most conservative southern state for 30 years. when jimmy carter won in 1976, virginia wasn't going that direction. right? so this was the most conservative of the old confederate states. it changed very quickly. and i think with this nomination, with ken cuchinelli's nomination. watch what the business community in fairfax does. because they're not interested
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in a robust discussion of cultural issues. they're trying to attract global multinational corporations. to bring jobs here. they want to focus on education, they want to focus on traffic and infrastructure. if you've driven from washington to fredericksburg and back and haven't cursed at the traffic, then you must have been driving at 3:00 a.m. that's what folks in the business community, and i think swing voters are going to be worried about. and i think it's going to be a really huge test for all the republicans to focus on how to move virginia forward, rather than quite frankly having a discussion about things that are moving backwards. >> you know what i learned from today's show? is that basically for the republicans, they just need, they need like incendiary sock puppets in congress or like in sort legislative affairs who take the heat. they just need like crazy foil men and they can go forward with sort of moderate, sensible legislation. they need someone in the room that is crazier than them. >> republicans have been doing that for a long time. they've elevated their extreme
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right flank. which democrats don't do. democrats dismiss and push down their left flank, instead of raising it up and saying well look at these crazy people. they want everybody to eat soy. me, we just want to do x. and seem much more moderate. >> the big picture narrative to loop back to where we started the hour is republicans were marginalizing the tea party and they were pushing this part of the tea party aside, and the irs scandal and the other controversies have given them every reason to bring them back into the fold. >> it's emboldened them. that's in some ways the take-away from this. they feel what's the point of moving towards the center when obama is going to get impeached anyway. >> they're wearing their tin foil hats with pride. that's our show, i'll see you back in new york city tomorrow when i'm joined by dan raptor, bob herbert, the "new yorker's" george packer and depak chopra.
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our business travel forecast today will focus on severe weather. we're expecting another widespread outbreak, including tornadoes. and airport delays could be widespread later this evening. as the storms could be anywhere from wisconsin, to michigan, chicago, all the way down through st. louis, kansas city, and the greatest threat of tornadoes later today, eastern oklahoma, into the ozarks later on tonight.
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angie's list -- reviews you can trust. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," triple threat, facing a trio of controversies, the white house sends outs a top adviser, the sunday talk shows, dan fifer called the irs targeting of conservative groups, inexcusable, period. >> whether it's legal or illegal is not important not fact that the conduct doesn't matter. the department of justice has said they're looking into the legality of this. the president is not going to wait for that we have to make sure it doesn't happen again, regardless of how that turns out. >> republicans have only begun to investigate. >> there is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration. the irs is just the most recent example. >> the leak crackdown continuing, even beyond the "associated press." as the app's chief tells us that the seizure of his reporter's phone records has already had a
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chilling effect. >> we just think they went about it the wrong way. so sweeping, so secretively. so abusively and harassingly and overbroad. that it constitutes, that it, that it is an unconstitutional act. >> we are almost right under the tornado at this point. we can hear the roar. it's right over us, but we can still see it in contact with the ground farther off toward the northeast. >> nature's fury, two people are dead after devastating tornadoes tear across the midwest. as the same region now braces for more severe weather today. and a big night for big exits on "snl's" season finale as the cast bids farewell to bill hader. riding off into the sunset. >>

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